Owen Clement tells of One-Eyed Jack, a loyal and deeply-loved family pet.
Home | Highlights In The Shadows
Owen Clement tells of One-Eyed Jack, a loyal and deeply-loved family pet.
Owen Clement reaches the final page of his autobiography, Highlights In The Shadows. As the result of the serialisation of his story in Open Writing Owen has made contact with a relative who lives thousands of miles away from his home in Australia.
Short stories by Owen will continue to appear in Open Writing.
As he nears the conclusion of his autobiography Owen Clement reflects upon his life.
To read Owen's story from the beginning please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
...Now that my wife and children were happy and settled in Australia I too finally realized that Australia had become my home. I took out Australian citizenship for a combination of reasons and have not regretted doing so. I was born British-Indian, I had taken out Canadian citizenship and now I was officially an Australian...
Owen Clement continues the story of his life on three continents. To read earlier chapters please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
...To supplement our income Jan and I made banana jam and Indian pickles as a sideline business and sold our products through tourist outlets like the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour...
Owen Clement and his wife Jan worked hard to make a sucess of their shop in Queensland.
For earlier chapters of Owen's life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
...When Jennifer had left for Vancouver, she looked just like any other young country schoolgirl with pigtails and a school uniform. Jan and I barely recognized the smart young woman that stepped off the plane in Coffs Harbour two months later. Jennifer arrived wearing a black mini-skirt with a close-fitting red top, a chic short haircut and a Canadian accent...
Owen Clement continues his autobiography. Please click on Highlights In The Shadows for earlier chapters of Owen's story of his life In India, England, Canada and Australia.
Owen Clement leaves Papua New Guinea and buys a shop in Queensland.
To read Owen’s life story from the beginning please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on his page.
…As soon as I knew that my family was safe, and that we were fortunate not to lose anything of any value, I took them for a walk around the town to see the damage caused by the quake. I saw one young man sitting on a doorstep weeping next to his brand new TR2 sports car. It lay crushed flat under the house after its beams had been washed away.
Owen Clement tells of a night when an earthquake caused havoc.
…A few days before Jan and the children arrived I walked down to the local cinema and saw "Wait Until Dark" a suspense film with Audrey Hepburn playing a blind woman on her own being threatened by a murderer. After walking home down a spooky avenue under drooping branches of large tropical trees I was glad when I reached the house. As I put my hand on the door handle, it gave an unearthly scream. Unwittingly I had put my hand on a large green tree frog…
Owen Clement is posted to Madang to work in a store there. To read earlier chapters of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…I awoke at the pre-dawn period when the sea and sky are indistinguishable from each other. I saw the mirror-like surface being sliced everywhere with dozens of triangular fins breaking the glassy surface. I lay on the prow fascinated with what I thought was a school of small sharks. In fact I was watching the wingtips of a large school of young Manta Rays…
While living in Papua New Guinea Owen Clement went on a magical fishing trip.
Owen Clement tells of violent and shocking incidents in Papua New Guinea.
To read earlier chapters of Owen's life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…My friend and assistant John Lynch and I often took our home-made sandwiches with us as we wandered down to the wharf to watch the local men fishing for small Garfish. One afternoon a school of tuna swam behind the wharf. A couple of fishing canoes quickly rowed across the open area and the fishermen in them began calling out and slapping the surface of the water with their paddles…
When Owen Clement was managing a supermarket in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, he adapted to the custom of shutting up shop for two hours at lunchtime.
For more of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…I found the manager's desk in a corner of the storeroom swarming with cockroaches. Every time I pulled out a drawer or a file I would have to wait for the disgusting creatures to scuttle off….
Owen Clement decides to leave Australia for good and takes a job as a store manager in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Owen Clement pursues a retailing career but encounters choppy waters.
For earlier chapters of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement gets a job in retailing in Sydney – then something happens which convinces him he is working for the wrong firm.
For earlier episodes of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…The ship had slowed down too much to take on the pilot, the customs and immigration authorities and the Hula Hula girls before entering the port. Unable to build up enough speed to negotiate a reef in the harbour the ship's prow ran aground. We were in the dining room having breakfast when we felt the bump and saw the ship develop a slight list…
Unable to get satisfactory work in Canada Owen Clement and his wife decide to return to Australia. To read earlier chapters of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
“I was particularly despairing that our future was out of our control with events not going as planned….’’
Owen Clement’s wife Jan returns to Australia because her mother is ill. Owen joins her there – but he is not a happy man.
After deciding that he will have nothing more to do with women, Owen Clement meets and marries an Aussie girl.
For earlier chapters of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement goes down the El Dorado uranium mine – then he samples Moose Milk, a combination of rum, condensed milk and boiling water, with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.
Owen Clement, continuing his life story, tells of working as an airline agent in Uranium City, 500 miles north of Edmonton, a place so cold that saliva can freeze on the tongue.
…Two burly professional wrestlers, passengers in transit, approached me to ask for the umpteenth time, “When is the bloody plane leaving for Vancouver?” Tired and cranky I glowered at them and jerked my thumb upwards saying, “Don’t ask me - ask Him.” The man who spoke could have broken me in half like a twig if he had wished. His friend turned on him saying, “Hey! Leave him alone. Can’t you see the poor kid’s beat?” “Aw! Sorry kid, I didn’t mean to bother you,” the first man said putting his arm around my shoulders, “Let me buy you a cup of coffee, Huh!”…
Owen Clement tells of experiences while working for the Canadian Pacific Airline in British Columbia.
In this latest episode of his life story Owen Clement goes on a “big game’’ hunt.
For earlier chapters of Owen’s story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…While the men tried to clean the blood, fish scales and slime off their parkas, the pilot, Stan and I cleaned filleted and fried a dozen or so trout in butter on a Primus stove. We served it up with bread, butter and lemon wedges. It would have to be one of the simplest and yet most memorable meals I have ever eaten….
Owen Clement tells of an epic fishing trip in Canada. To read earlier chapters of Owen’s story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement acquires his first car – only to realise after a while that he has bought his way into trouble.
While working as a car hop in Vancouver Owen Clement discovered that the best tippers were working class men and women and the worst were those who drove Cadillacs, Rolls Royces or the like.
To read earlier chapters of Owen’s colourful life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
"I often walked the chilly streets for hours feeling sorry for myself...'
Owen Clement moves to Toronto and is far from impressed by the city. For earlier chapters of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu in this page.
Owen Clement meets a girl who had been a regular dancing partner during his days in India. He thinks this is the “real thing’’, but disappointment awaits.
For earlier chapters of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page..
As he settled into his new life in Vancouver, Canada, Owen Clement acquired an enthusiasm for classical music. Friends took him to a concert by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy. During the interval one of the friends asked "Did you enjoy that, Owen?" "Yes,’’ he replied “I thought it was fantastic." "I know you did, dear,’’ said the friend. "You sang the whole way through it."
To read earlier chapters of Owen’s life story please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement and his family arrive in Vancouver. Owen’s first job as a ladies’ garment cutter ends abruptly. “After only a year of working there the owner called me into his office to reluctantly fire me on his wife's instructions. The woman never bathed and smelled of onions, stale sweat and perfume. In agreement with the other workers I had kept opening the windows to let in some fresh air. This proved too much for the odoriferous woman…’’
To read earlier chapters of Owen’s life story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page..
When the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth arrived in New York on her first commercial voyage after the war a flotilla of fireboats greeted her by spraying water hundreds of feet into the air. She was accompanied by many craft of all shapes and sizes, decked with bunting, hooting loudly, as they joined in the welcoming armada.
Owen Clement and his family were aboard the vessel, heading for a fresh start in the New World.
Owen Clement and his family, forced to leave India, arrive in bomb-damaged Liverpool, there to live in squalid conditions for some months.
To read earlier chapters of Owen’s life story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement recalls a tragic incident at sea while voyaging from India to England. For earlier chapters of Owen's life story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
"The Empress of Scotland sailed on the afternoon tide and as we pulled away from the quay, many of the passengers tossed their topi's (pith hats) over the rail into the sea, supposedly severing their connection with India forever…''
Owen Clement and his family sail out from Bombay, yet again saying goodbye to India.
For earlier chapters of Owen's autobiography click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement recalls a most mysterious incident at the railway station in Madras – then he breaks down in tears as he and his family say farewell to India.
For earlier chapters of Owen's colourful life story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement remembers the unrest and violence which built up as India moved towards partition in 1947.
…My body was almost parallel to the road as I pushed my bicycle the whole four miles home along Second Avenue battling the gale force winds and stinging rain. As I fought my way, I occasionally laughed out aloud at the sight of Indian baboos (office clerks) briefly struggling with their umbrellas before the wind snatched them away sending them aloft like huge black dandelion clocks…
Owen Clement recalls a fearsome cyclone which devastated West Bengal in 1942. For more of Owen's life story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…I vividly remembered this time many years later when I was an adult and the stark reality of what that Japanese advance could have meant to my family and me. My father had sworn an oath to my mother that should the Japanese forces reach Kharagpur, he, Dad, was to shoot and kill both my mother and my sister with his revolver. He and I would then fight on until we too were killed. None of us were to be taken alive…
Owen Clement is haunted by memories of his wartime days in India. To read earlier chapters of Owen's story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
..."Jump Eardley Jump," yelled Vivian.
Eardley continued to hang on, frozen with terror.
"Jump you Ulu or it will be too late," his cousin urged.
Eardley shut his eyes and leaped almost colliding with the stanchion of the bridge. We heard him scream as he disappeared over the embankment into some bushes…
Owen Clement vividly recalls a drama on a train journey to a Scout jamboree in India in 1941. To read earlier chapters of Owen's absorbing life story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…we scouts boarded long narrow low-canopied punts which we had to manage ourselves. It was a nerve-racking business as the waters of the Ganges Delta were full of crocodiles….
Owen Clement, continuing his exotic life story, recalls a Scout jamboree held in India in 1939.
For more of Owen’s story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
….The only recollection of the train trip across India was arriving at Kharagpur’s outskirts with both Gloria and me braving the cinders thrown up by the coal-burning steam engine ahead when we hung our heads out of the carriage window with our eyes half-closed trying to outdo each other to be the first to see the signs of our town….
Owen Clement and his family leave chilly and grey England and return to hot and sticky India.
Owen Clement recalls outings to swim in the river on moonlit Indian nights.
Owen Clement tells of fun and games in the Railway Institute in Kharagpur, India – and of the night when a car appeared on the Institute’s roof.
For more of Owen’s colourfull life story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement introduces his home town, Kharagpur in India – the town which has the longest railway platform in the world.
Read more of Owen’s life story by clicking on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
…We rented a large old house once used by Queen Victoria to house and entertain her guests. Leaning up against the walls of the musty basement were huge rotting portraits of long-forgotten minor royal personages and dignitaries, along with crumbling velvet drapes still attached to massive wooden curtain rods. In the stairwell the flush toilet's cistern was located about seven feet off the floor. To escape the roar of cascading water we would pull the chain and quickly escape from the tell-tale noise…
Owen Clement and his family live for a time on the Isle of Wight, Queen Victoria's favourite holiday island.
To read the earlier chapters of Owen’s story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
“My mother, unfortunately, suffered with acute seasickness. And as she could not keep what she ate down, she began bringing up blood. “I am going to throw myself through the porthole,” she once threatened. In fear of losing her we ended our voyage at Marseilles…’’
Owen Clement and his family leave India, bound for England.
To read earlier chapter’s of Owen’s engrossing story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement tells of an encounter with an old Indian scholar during a rail trip to Bangalore. For more chapters of Owen’s story click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
“We left our house in Fourth Avenue in a horse drawn gharry well before dawn. I sat up on the seat next to the old driver much to my sister's annoyance, as she was made to stay inside the carriage with her Ayah, Asa Bathi, and Mum and Dad…’’
Owen Clement, in the latest episode of his life story, vividly recalls the sights, sounds and smells experienced on a day trip to Calcutta. To read earlier chapters of Owen’s book click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.
Owen Clement set out for school for the first time in 1934 in Kharagpur, an Indian railway town, wearing a short-sleeved cotton shirt, brief drill shorts, socks, sandals and a Topee, a pith hat.
“The earliest memory I have of my aunt is when she visited us in Kharagpur in the mid-nineteen-thirties when I saw her wander around our house during the daytime in pink satin lace-frilled underwear in front of the servants and us…’’
Owen Clement introduces some remarkable members of his family.
“My mother, her sister and brother, like my father and his sisters, spent all their childhood years at boarding schools.’’ Owen Clement is of the opinion that such an education meant there would have been no bonding with their parents.
“Dad lived by the code set out in Rudyard Kipling's poem '"If'". He had little time for hypocrites…If he had a fault, it would be his constant belief that everyone he dealt with shared his standards of ethics and principles…’’ Owen Clement paints a loving portrait of his father, an honourable man, slow to anger, whose final words were “This dying business takes a long time.’’
…At that very moment Jock (another apprentice) rode through the gate on the Home’s only bicycle shared by all four hundred of us. The airborne snake wrapped itself around Jock’s neck. Jock screaming in terror let go of the handlebars as he tried to dislodge and remove the horrible thing. He and our precious bicycle crashed into the hedge… Owen Clement recalls two of his father’s astonishing tales, both involving King Cobras.
“He had an intimate knowledge of the Bible having studied it intensively at school. He displayed this knowledge in his later years when Jehovah’s Witnesses called at his home. He would invite them into the house and debate the Scriptures with them. He would soon have them checking through their Bibles, often to no avail, trying to win their argument.’’
Owen Clement recalls his good-humoured father.
Owen Clement’s father loved his school days in India, especially his years at La Martiniere in Lucknow. As a perk prefects were given the use of what were once the emperor’s stables for their own private use.
…Aunty Dolly had a monkey, I teased it and it caught my leg and bit me (little bites from my knee to my ankle)… Owen Clement tells of his relatives in India – and questions the identity of his grandfather..
Owen Clement goes to India in search of records of his ancestors.
Owen Clement remembers his life as a series of incidents – highlights which stand out from the shadows. These highlights come vividly to mind as he looks back at his life, and thinks also of people in his family.
Owen was born in India and now lives in Australia. He has many a tale to tell. Today Open Writing begins the serialisation of his story, Highlights In The Shadows, with an account of a boyhood fishing trip to a lagoon in an Indian village.